Whenua Māori

Whānau development through land is a key focus for Te Puni Kōkiri. It supports Māori landowners, trustees and whānau to realise their aspirations, whether they be social, cultural, environmental or economic.

Hone Dalton and Tayla Marsh from Te Kotahitanga e Mahi Kaha Trust in Kaikohe where Minister Mahuta announced the rating changes. Photo by Josie McClutchie

COVID-19: Support for whenua businesses

Supporting you through these uncertain times is a priority for Te Puni Kōkiri. One way we can support you to manage your whenua business is to help you access the information you need.

We will be providing you with updates to this page as new information comes to hand, and as we understand how we can best support your needs moving forward.

For more on how Te Puni Kōkiri is providing advice go here 

Operating as an essential service

Primary sector businesses and industries are deemed essential services through the Level 4 COVID-19 response.  This includes food and beverage production and processing, food safety and animal welfare businesses.

  • Register with the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) by 5:00pm Friday 27 March 2020

    For you to be able to continue operating, MPI needs assurances that your processes protect workers and the public by limiting interactions and reducing the potential spread of COVID-19.

    • Do you have 5 or fewer people (including the owner) working at each business site?
    • Can you achieve social distancing measures between staff in your workplace, including travelling to and from work?

      If you answer YES to both of those questions, then you do not need to register and do not need to fill in the form.

      If you answered NO to either of these questions, you MUST fill in the form.

      If in doubt, fill in the form.

      For more information and to register go to the Ministry of Primary Industries' website.
  • To understand if you provide an essential service

    More information is available the COVID19.govt.nz website.

    If you have any queries around essential services you can get in touch with our team at 0508 377 388 or email essential@mbie.govt.nz.

    There will also be a team at MPI to answer queries related to Primary Industries, including food and beverage production and processing. We will publish this number once available.
  • If you are a HortNZ member

    Key contacts for support with registering as an essential service, as well as other business supports, are available on the HortNZ website.

Business support

If you are a Māori business needing financial or business continuity support, please visit the Government’s COVID19.govt.nz website:

All farmers and growers should contact their usual suppliers (stock, dairy companies, vets, fertilizer companies, stock feed suppliers etc) and check their websites for information about how they are managing their response to COVID-19 and impacts on your business.

Also check in with your banks. All banks have information on their websites about the support they are putting in place for their customers.

Other help

The Rural Support Trust information and helpline numbers are available here


Whenua Māori Programme

The Whenua Māori Programme will support the sustainable development of whenua Māori, increase the knowledge and skills of Māori landowners, generate wealth and strengthen the connection between Māori and their whenua.

The Programme is co-led by Te Puni Kōkiri and the Ministry of Justice. It  recognises that Māori freehold landowners face a complex regulatory environment and have difficultly accessing information and resources about Māori freehold land.

The Programme addresses these challenges by:

  • enabling on-the-ground support for Māori landowners in key regions
  • amending Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993
  • providing new and enhanced Māori Land Court services
  • modernising Māori Land Court information systems; and
  • creating a Whenua Knowledge Hub and website designed in collaboration with Māori.

The Whenua Māori Programme was announced by the Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta in February 2019. You can read more about it here. https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/reform-whenua-m%C4%81ori 

In May 2019, Minister Mahuta and Justice Minister Andrew Little announced that the Government will invest $56.1 million into the Whenua Māori Programme over the next four years. Click here for more information on the Whenua Budget announcement for 2019

Proposed changes to the rating of Māori land

Parliament is currently considering significant changes to the rating of Māori freehold land. The proposals are part of the Government’s wider commitment to supporting whānau and regional development through whenua. They are a major step forward in reducing the rating barriers for owners of Māori freehold land and encouraging the greater use, occupation and development of whenua Māori.

The Local Government (Rating of whenua Māori) Amendment Bill was introduced into Parliament in February and the Māori Affairs Committee are calling for public submission until Friday 17 April 2020.

Find out more information here.

Proposed amendments to Ture Whenua Maori

Te Ture Whenua Maori (Succession, Dispute Resolution, and Related Matters) Amendment Bill was introduced into Parliament on 19 September 2019.

The proposed changes to Te Ture Whenua Maori Act 1993 recognise that the protection of Māori land remains a priority but that changes to the legislation will make it easier for Māori land owners to engage with their whenua.

Find out more information on the Bill.

Whenua Knowledge

The development of a Whenua Knowledge Hub and website is one of the key initiatives of the Whenua Māori Programme. It will give Māori landowners, trustees and whānau the most up-to-date and trusted information about their whenua to support their planning, investments and aspirations.

These tools are being worked on in collaboration with Māori. Watch this video to see how the Hub is being developed.

WhenuaViz upgrade an important first step

In the meantime, Te Puni Kōkiri and Manaaki Whenua launched the enhanced Whenua Māori Visualisation Tool (WhenuaViz) in May 2019. You can view the media release here.

The improved website makes it easier for whānau to generate customised land summary reports and find valuable information about soil properties, climate data and potential land uses.

You can view the upgraded WhenuaViz website here.

Guide to using the WhenuaViz website

Whenua Regional Advisory Services 

The new service will provide for dedicated staff across Te Tai Tokerau (Northland) Waiariki (Bay of Plenty) and Te Tairāwhiti (East Coast).

The role of the service is to provide specialised and customised support that empowers Māori landowners to move forward on their development journey.

Watch this video to see how Te Puni Kōkiri staff in Te Tairāwhiti supported Whangara Farms to establish their partnership in 2006.

In recognition of their success, Whangara Farms were a finalist in the Ahuwhenua Trophy Te Puni Kōkiri Excellence in Māori Farming Award 2019 (sheep and beef category).  

Click here for more information about the Ahuwhenua Trophy.

Ahuwhenua Trophy 

The Ahuwhenua Trophy celebrates excellence in Māori farming. Te Puni Kōkiri is the proud platinum sponsor of this prestigious award which was established by Sir Apirana Ngata and Governor-General Lord Bledisloe in 1933. Te Puni Kōkiri is proud of its commitment to whenua initiatives, celebrating exemplary Māori farming through the Ahuwhenua Trophy Award, and enabling and supporting Māori freehold landowners through its recently established Whenua Māori Programme. Find out more information on the Ahuwhenua Trophy here.

Whenua Māori Fund

With the support of the Whenua Māori Fund, whānau Māori are exploring and fulfilling their aspirations for Māori freehold land. Read more

Our Whenua Māori stories

Keeping Mitimiti going one tree at a time

A collective of Māori land trusts in the north have collaborated with Te Puni Kōkiri and other partners to enhance their future in forestry and maximise the returns on their Māori freehold land. Their efforts are creating jobs for locals in small Far North settlements and setting an example for other Māori landowners interested in forestry. With high rates of Māori land underperforming, this is an example of how the Whenua Māori Programme can assist Māori landowners to develop their land. Read more

A man on a mission to bring people together

This projects links up Te Tai Hauāuru Iwi and Māori land owners with local and central government schemes and it identifies joint land development opportunities among local Māori land owners. This is a small-scale example of what could happen when the Whenua Māori Programme is up-and-running. Read more

Honeys of Te Urewera only the start

With the support of Te Puni Kōkiri, the Tūhoe Tuawhenua Trust has established and developed its Manawa Honey business deep in the Ruatāhuna Valley. The successful enterprise provides rewarewa, tāwari and mānuka honey to around 150 stores around the country. While there business is thriving, the Trust is keen to expand its business and investigate other ways to use their land. The Whenua Māori Programme could potentially assist this Trust in fulfilling its aspirations. Read more

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